The Department of Justice’s healthcare fraud settlement with William H. Beaumont Hospital is among the largest against any Michigan hospital. The settlement resolves claims that the health care giant of southeastern Michigan maintained improper referral relationships with doctors and other medical facilities, cultivated a culture that enticed physician referrals with kickbacks, and engaged in other conduct constituting Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
Blanchard & Walker is proud to have represented and fought for a former Beaumont Director of Diagnostic Imaging and Nuclear Medicine, one of four relators who came forward independently to blow the whistle on the Hospital under the False Claims Act. Attorney David Blanchard represented the whistleblower and assisted throughout the multi-year investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Michigan.
It takes courage for a medical professional to come forward, not knowing what could happen. “All the pieces came together here,” said Blanchard, “brave whistleblowers willing to come forward; a top notch team of qui tam relator’s counsel including Julie Bracker and Marc Vezina; and strong partnership with the investigators and prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District. Peter Caplan, Leslie Wizner, and Carolyn Bell-Harbin, along with DOJ attorney Laurie Oberembt, left no stone unturned tracking down the reported conduct and holding the Hospital to account.”
In a press release issued by the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider for the Eastern District of Michigan said “This result should impress on the medical community the fact that we will aggressively take action to recover monies wrongfully billed to Medicare, through the remedies provided in the federal False Claims Act.”
As the DOJ explains: “The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits offering, paying, soliciting, or receiving remuneration to induce referrals of items or services covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and other federally funded programs. The Physician Self-Referral Law, commonly known as the Stark Law, prohibits a hospital from billing Medicare for certain services referred by physicians with whom the hospital has an improper financial arrangement, including the payment of compensation that exceeds the fair market value of the services actually provided by the physician and the provision of free or below-market rent and office staff. Both the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Law are intended to ensure that physicians’ medical judgments are not compromised by improper financial incentives and instead are based on the best interests of their patients.”
The attorneys at Blanchard & Walker have been specializing in employment, civil rights, class action and complex litigation matters for 15 years. This case brought together and drew upon skills and knowledge from across the firm’s legal expertise: supporting whistleblowers, a deep understanding of Michigan’s health care industry, and a working partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s office, to get a just result for our client and a win for Michigan medical professionals, patients, and taxpayers alike.